Build of the Week: RTX3090 for DaVinci Resolve

One of the things we pride ourselves on is that we don’t just sell good computers. Everyone has different needs, even those that use the same programs. Recently we’ve been working with a lot of video editors and animators, and we’ve come across some pretty niche requirements.

Our most recent of these clients specialises in DaVinci Resolve. He loves using dedicated tools for specific tasks. He’s got stuff like a Blackmagic output card to edit directly in 4k, and even a huge colour calibration controller with three massive trackballs. He also wanted to be able to use Thunderbolt accessories where possible

He’s very good at his job, and of course that means he needs a very special machine to keep up with him.

CPU

The original plan was to go for a Threadripper CPU, as these have received great scores in DaVinci Resolve benchmarks. Through our extensive research and testing, however, we’ve found that the GPU is the most important component for this program.

With this in mind, we decided that the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X would be the perfect tool for the job. This has been our favourite CPU since it’s release for a few reasons. This CPU has 16 cores, which is a huge amount for a consumer CPU. It also boosts up to 4.9GHz, for excellent single core performance.

It also comes in at a great price point, getting 90% of the performance of a Threadripper at less than half the price. Of course, there are some other reasons you’d want to go with the Threadripper platform, but this was perfect for us.

Motherboard

As we mentioned, this computer needed Thunderbolt compatibility. It’s not common to find AMD motherboards with this feature, and of course our usual choices weren’t on that list.

That wasn’t the only requirement that we had to adhere to either. It also needed to have enough PCIe slots and lanes. Our builds usually just have a GPU and an NVMe SSD, but this had additional considerations. You’ll read more about that under the GPU section. 

We managed to find a great option, and that was the Gigabyte B550 Vision-D. This motherboard has a pair of Thunderbolt ports, and it also has the PCIe slots and lanes that we needed.

Plus, it just looks really cool.

RAM

DaVinci Resolve has relatively light RAM requirements, but it can ramp up with larger projects. For this kind of system, the safest bet was max out the system with 128GB RAM.

This would be enough memory even for editing long videos at 4K resolution and up. It would also give enough headroom to run a few other tasks at the same time. This amount of RAM makes the system quite futureproof.

GPU

The graphics processing power of this system is the real highlight. With the kind of performance our client was looking for we had to bring out the big guns.

The RTX3090 is Nvidia’s ultimate consumer grade GPU, and it’s an absolute monster. This card provides insane levels of performance in Resolve.

We had one of these installed in the system, but our client wanted room for a second one. This computer is crazy enough as it is, but we really can’t wait to see what happens when we throw in another 3090 later down the line.

We also needed to consider the Blackmagic card we mentioned a few times earlier. We wouldn’t be installing this card ourselves, but it is an important component of the build. These cards, combined with the CPU and RAM will make working with Resolve incredibly smooth.

Case

Our standard cases are compact full towers that are absolutely perfect for 90% of our builds. They’re made from premium materials like steel and glass, and this makes them both sturdy and beautiful. This is one of the rare situations where we needed something slightly larger. That’s because we needed to fit in more storage drives than usual, to allow for the highest possible combination of speed and storage capacity.

Thankfully we had the option to use the big brother of our usual case, to keep with our aesthetic.  

Cooling

A powerful CPU is wasted if it’s not cooled properly. When a CPU gets too hot, its performance is severely limited. There’s no point in paying for all this power if you’re not going to be able to use it.

In our Vulcan workstations, we settle for nothing less than a high-performance water cooler with a 240mm radiator. In this case, we managed to do one better.

Because the literal case is larger, we had enough space for a 360mm radiator. This provides a lot more surface area to spread out the heat. It also has enough room for a third 120mm fan, which further helps to move the heat out of the case, and away from the components.  

Final Thoughts

Being able to edit 4K video is easy enough. It takes a bit of research to perfectly optimise your system, but it’s generally just “pay more for higher performance”. What made this build different was that it needed to be prepared to edit 4K in real-time. On top of that, Thunderbolt compatibility is not common in AMD systems.  

Despite how niche these requirements are, we’re proud to have found the exact combination of parts to make it possible. It even fit right into our customer’s price range.  

This isn’t the end of the story for this build though. We’re expecting to see it again this year, when we’ll be throwing in a second RTX3090 Graphics Card.

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